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VERNON HILLS, Ill. -- After 52 years in the petroleum industry, J&L Oil's owner Gene Wright has sold his remaining 18 stores to newly formed Combined Oil, based in Lincolnshire, Ill., for approximately $20 million.
The J&L Oil chain was founded in 1952 when the Wright family bought its first store in Chicago. Both Gene Wright and his father, Lester, soon began to make an impact on the industry. Each served as directors for the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMA). Gene was also the president of IPMA for two years. Lester Wright became the president of the now-defunct Greater Chicago Gasoline Marketers Association for several years. At one point, J&L employed nearly 600 people, operated more than 100 facilities in seven states, and rang up sales of more than $100 million.
With the purchase of the18 J&L stores -- all branded either Mobil or Marathon -- as well as two distributorships, Combined Oil becomes the first "New American" firm in Illinois, and the second in the Midwest, to become a Mobil fuel distributor. With the J&L acquisition, the company has more than 40 locations, mostly in Illinois and Wisconsin.
The Energy Exchange, a Chicago-based real estate firm specializing in the sale of service stations and convenience stores, brokered the deal.